Marine biodiversity

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Ongoing PhD projects

Title: Biogeography, genetic connectivity and speciation of deep-water vent and seep fauna in the north east atlantic and arctic ocean.

Short description and aims: This project aims to find out more about the evolutionary history of the fauna at the Arctic chemosynthetic ecosystems, and the connectivity between these and similar habitats in other oceans. The second aim of the project is to study the evolutionary relationship between fauna at hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and organic falls (e.g. whalefalls and woodfalls). These habitats share a number of families and genera, and even some species, but it is unclear how ecological and evolutionary processes have shaped the diversification patterns observed in these taxa. We are focusing on polychaetes from the families Ampharetidae and Siboglinidae, who are both well known from different chemosynthetic habitats around the globe. In collaboration with the University Museum of Bergen we are using a combination of morphological and molecular methods to assure correct taxonomic assignment of specimens and to describe new species. To answer our research question we are using multigene phylogenetics and population genetic methods.

Timeframe: January 2013 – December 2017

Funding: Centre for Geobiology and Department of Biology

PhD candidate: Mari Heggernes Eilertsen

Supervisors: Hans Tore Rapp, Jon Anders Kongsrud, Manuel António E. Malaquias


Title: Codium fragile and Sargassum muticum: Non-native seaweeds in a changing environment

The aim of the project is to investigate how various factors affect the success of non-native seaweeds, in particular what impact increasing ocean temperatures might have. In Norway, many non-native seaweeds have arrived from the south, so may benefit and become more common here if sea temperatures rise. On the other hand, this may not make a difference if factors other than temperature are controlling the success of the non-native species. The work is focused on the green seaweed Codium fragile subsp. fragile (pollpryd) and the brown seaweed Sargassum muticum (japansk drivtang). Methodological approaches include field experiments, laboratory experiments, and field observations through time. Molecular work to clarify C. fragile subspecies identity in Norway is also part of the project.

Timeframe: August 2013-August 2017

Funding: UiB, and the Research Council of Norway through the project "Towards integrated European marine research strategy and programmes - SEAS-ERA" (ERAC-CT2009-249552) within the framework of the EU ERA-Net initiative (7th Framework Program).

PhD candidate: Caroline Susanne Armitage

Supervisors: Inga Kjersti Sjøtun (UiB), Vivian Husa (IMR)